Trump’s China Challenge: 5G, Huawei, and the Trade War

For months, Australia warned the United States what it saw as the destructive capacity of 5G technology, according to Reuters. “Now, America is aggressively campaigning against Chinese telecom champion Huawei, fearful Beijing’s domination of 5G could be used for espionage and sabotage.”

DESPARDES News Monitor — If Huawei gets a foothold in global 5G networks including in the US, it will give China one up in tech and an unprecedented opportunity to attack a country’s critical infrastructure, including public utilities and financial centers– this is the general narrative. The Trump Administration thinks that may be the case and therefore a national security concern to Washington.

Google has cut off Huawei from Android

There has been a very, very fast-moving realization in terms of understanding the technology. Most people were treating it as a kind of evolutionary step as opposed to a revolutionary step. “And now that light has come on”, retired U.S. Marine Corps General James Jones, who served as national security adviser to President Barack Obama told Reuters. What spurred senior U.S. officials into action? A sudden dawning of what 5G will bring, according to Jones.

The race: Why the U.S is so fearful about global (now in the US) Huawei

China leads in 5G development and patent holding. The Americans are also now campaigning aggressively to contain Huawei as part of a much broader effort to check Beijing’s growing economic (Belt and Road) and military might (in Indo-Pacific) under President Xi Jinping. 

Last week, before taking off for Tokyo, President Trump said there remained a “good possibility” that an agreement would be reached on Trade Tariffs. But, more importantly, he added that a deal could include a resolution to the stand-off over Huawei foray in the US. His administration Chinese telecoms network company of violating sanctions, stealing intellectual property and practicing espionage.

Why Huawei’s 5G is a challenge to the US

Trump’s statement came just a week after the US had placed Huawei on a commerce department special blacklist of foreign entities that are considered risky from a national security perspective — sharply tightening export controls on sales to the Chinese company from the US.

Meanwhile, China’s growth in telecom has been very impressive: its integrated circuit (chip) industry maintained an annual growth rate of above 20 percent in 2012-2018, with sales reaching about US$95 billion last year. The emerging economic superpower’s telecom (Huawei) behemoth serves over 170 countries– intel and cybersecurity departments of U.K and Germany have verified it’s okay to use its gear.

Experts believe Windows and Andorid may not be needed with 5G, and SD cards and Bluetooth would become redundant. China’s semiconductor and software industries is cloud computing. In 5G era, calculation and storage will be in cloud, many tasks will be assigned to Artificial Intelligence (AI) to do, while the phone and the computer would be just an operational panel.

It may very well be that 5G would drive the Internet Of Things (IoT) worldwide and faster than any other communication platform.

That worries many amid US-China trade tariffs war which could get worse, many observers say– the outcome may cost more than US$650 billion in global economic losses.

A latest report says the Chinese telecom giant is reviewing its relationship with FedEx after it claimed the package delivery company diverted two parcels destined for Huawei addresses in Asia to the United States and attempted to reroute two others.

Huawei told Reuters on Friday that FedEx diverted two packages sent from Japan and addressed to Huawei in China to the United States, and attempted to divert two more packages sent from Vietnam to Huawei offices elsewhere in Asia, all without authorization, providing images of FedEx tracking records.

“The recent experiences where important commercial documents sent via FedEx were not delivered to their destination, and instead were either diverted to, or were requested to be diverted to, FedEx in the United States, undermines our confidence,” Joe Kelly, a spokesman for Huawei, told Reuters.

“We will now have to review our logistics and document delivery support requirements as a direct result of these incidents,” the spokesman said.

FedEx spokeswoman Maury Donahue told Reuters the packages were “misrouted in error”. She acknowledged in an earlier statement that the U.S. Department of Commerce had recently added Chinese companies and affiliates to its “Entity List”, but did not elaborate.

The U.S. Department of Commerce did not reply to the news agency’s request for comment on whether the incident might be related to its move on May 16 to add Huawei to the so-called “Entity List,” preventing it buying certain items from U.S. companies without U.S. government approval.